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Knights Win First Title in 55+ Division of Redwood Empire Baseball League

Redwood Empire Baseball League (CA) 55+ Division

Knights 20, Padres 19 (game two)

 

‘Knights Sweep Playoffs, Win First Title’

Submitted by Frank Tracy 

For the first time in their seven year existence, the Knights of the Redwood Empire Baseball League in Northern California have won a championship. The Knights were founded by Bob Branson in 2011, and have always fielded competitive squads with winning records in the55+ Mountain Division. The 2015 and 2016 seasons saw the Knights finish with 31 wins in 39 games. But the strength of the REBL 55+ Division kept them from reaching the finals until September of 2017.

The Knights ended the regular season with an eight game winning streak, and then won four consecutive playoff games. Their pitching depth was a strength that carried them from the season's beginning until the end. Their runs allowed were the fewest in the Division's regular season. #1 pitcher Rich Epidendio had nine victories, and he was backed up by Stan Holloway, Roy Davis, and Ed Colteaux. Davis had four wins in relief and Colteaux a mid-season two hit shutout.

Rookie Mark Garaventa was chosen the division's MVP. An important key for the Knights success was both their infield and outfield defense. The Knights roster was made up of Gary Nelson (Manager), Carter Njus, Bill Bailey, Rich Epidendio, Mark Garaventa, Ricky Guerrero, Don Johannsen, Stanley Holloway, Dale Skinner, Howard Block, Tom Kunst, Brien Seeley, Rich Peters, Roy Davis, Ed Colteaux, John Lavin and Frank Tracy. 

The 2017 regular season saw first year manager Gary Nelson lead the Knights to a second place finish, with a 17-3 record. The defending champion Dragons finished a game ahead at 18-2. The REBL regular season showed a number of close games most weeks. The 55+ Division's Silversox, Padres, Mustangs and White Sox all had their moments and provided stiff competition for the rest. After the first playoff round, the two teams left standing were the Knights and the upstart #4 Padres.

The Knights handily won the first game of the best-of-three championship series. Starting pitcher Stan Holloway gave up no runs in a dominating performance. The Knights' bats were productive throughout the game in the one sided matchup. Game two was a totally different story with the game see-sawing back and forth. The Padres fought back from a large deficit to take a four run lead in the late innings. The Knights slowed up the Padres bats and chipped away at the lead. The Knights late rally gave them a one run lead in the ninth inning. With both teams' pitching staffs reaching their limits, the Knights once again called on Game one pitcher Stan Holloway for the ninth inning save. Holloway got two strikeouts with runners aboard to end the championship series. 

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